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Rape is a crime notable for placing the woman on trial particularly for cultural reasons. She is either charged as a false accuser, gold digger, frivolous, or a scorned woman. These stereotypes prevail, and sometimes, women are their worst accusers. Ndinda, C. (2006) highlights this plight thus: “Indeed, it is a sad indictment of our society that women can come out in public and contemptuously intimidate a fellow woman traumatized by rape, while singing praises in support of the alleged perpetrator”. The law's casual treatment of rape cases is the subject of Estrich’s (1987) pioneering work in which she details America’s attitudes towards sex and rape, a crime of violence (not sex) that should be brought into the public sphere, and dealt with in the courts. Estrich (1987) concludes that over the centuries, not much has changed regarding rape laws. Perpetrators still get away with impunity, and men still fear they will be blamed for victimizing women. Ironically, this is th



1.1       Background of the study

The ubiquitous attribute of the offence of rape and its accompanying shortcomings are not in doubt. This may account for the reason why a sizeable amount of juristic ink has gone down the drain in an attempt to do justice to its ambit over the years. To ground conviction, the law requires that penetration must be proved; that the prosecutrix must not have consented; and lastly, that her story must be ably and independently corroborated


. On corroboration, the debate more often than not has always centered on whether its requirement in some sexual offences


should be retained or expunged, and more importantly whether there is any legal justification for requiring it in rape cases where corroboration requirement has merely been a matter of practice. While there is no much problem in determining what amounts to penetration in law theoretically, the determination of whether there has been penetration in actual fact is not an easy task. The issue of consent is also as problematic as the issue of corroboration and the major problem here is the way and manner Nigerian courts interpret the requirement of non-consent.

Against the above backdrop, this paper considers the appropriateness or otherwise of the requirements of penetration, non-consent and corroboration in rape trials, and concludes, inter alia, that the requirement of corroboration, as it currently exists in its rigid form, is a surplus age which should be excised from Nigerian statute books; that the Nigerian courts employ double standard in the interpretation of the requirement of non-consent by expecting victims of rape to put up utmost resistance against their assailants as if they had the physical strength to so do; and that the Nigerian laws on rape are long overdue for total overhaul.

To remedy these anomalies, the paper makes far-reaching recommendations aimed at filling the age-long neglected lacunae in the Nigerian laws on rape.




Such as rape in section 357 of the Criminal Code; defilement of a girl under 13 in section 218 of the Criminal Code; defilement of girls under 16 and above 13, and of idiots in section 221 of the Criminal Code, etc

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